‘Reading is key to unlocking the academic curriculum for our pupils’
At Ark Putney Academy, we prioritise reading in every classroom. By promoting reading across the full curriculum spectrum, we equip students to read fluently and comprehend texts in every subject discipline. It is crucial that we nurture fluent readers who can independently comprehend a wide range of texts in order for students to appreciate the central role of reading as the key to acquiring knowledge and setting them up for success in future learning. The skills involved in reading, comprehending and interpreting a text in the classroom – which involves self-reflection, discussion and navigating a divergence of opinions and interpretations – will also develop students’ empathy, tolerance and self-awareness.
Our reading across the curriculum strategy is founded upon the following five principles:
1. Reading is the pathway to learning. Reading is the key to unlocking the curriculum for students. Students need to be trained to read as a historian, as a scientist, a geographer, a mathematician, so that they can progressively build stamina for reading challenging, academic texts in the future.
2. Background knowledge matters. The reading pupils undertake in school is typically more complex than other forms and requires substantial background knowledge. Through pre-reading tasks, teachers equip students with the background knowledge to aid their reading and comprehension.
3. Fluency aids comprehension. Reading with expression and accuracy contribute towards reading comprehension. Providing students with opportunities to read aloud in the classroom allows teachers to support students with developing fluency.
4. Accountable Independent Reading is a tool for life. Teachers support students with effectively reading a text for meaning by providing students with questions/tasks that support students’ comprehension of a text, encourage more ‘active’ reading habits and equip students to tackle texts with independence later in life.
5. Able readers read more independently. Children’s reading ability determines how much they read so, as teachers, we are committed to delivering high quality reading provision; if we can improve the teaching of reading, then we are likely to increase our pupils’ reading ability and how much they read for pleasure and engage in our subject disciplines.
As part of our reading across the curriculum strategy to develop students as fluent readers who can comprehend texts at or above their chronological reading age, staff use a range of strategies, such as:
1. Teacher Read Aloud to develop and model fluent and expressive reading.
2. An Accountable Independent Reading toolkit for comprehension which incorporates the reciprocal reading strategies of clarifying, questioning, summarising and predicting.
3. Control the Game: a data driven approach to reading where the teacher selects students to read aloud to develop fluent and expressive reading.
4. Hear, See, Say and Speed Words which build student fluency and aid comprehension.
5. Implicit and explicit vocabulary instruction.
Our work on reading in the classroom is fully supported through our tutor and PSHE programme, our book club programme and our reading interventions programme.
Across all year groups at KS3 and KS4, students have one tutor time per week dedicated to reading for pleasure focussed around diversity in literature, to build cultural understanding and explore different attitudes and perspectives. In year 7 students read Face by Benjamin Zephaniah; in year 8 students read Windrush Child by Benjamin Zephaniah; in Year 9 students read Cane Warriors by Alex Wheatle; in year 10 students read The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton; in year 11 students read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.
All students complete the NGRT reading test at the start of the academic year. The reading data is used by staff to identify the reading ability of each student they teach, with the data used to inform their use of strategies to support students with reading in their subject. Students who are working 2+ years below their chronological reading age level in year 9 and 10 complete Lexia, a digital reading intervention programme that develops students’ comprehension skills. The nurture stream across KS3 complete additional literacy catch up which includes the following programmes: Fresh Start, Expressive Writing and the LIT programme.
Finally, as part of our significant commitment to reading as a life-long skill for our students, we encourage them to make reading for pleasure a habit outside of school. Please see below for recommended reading lists for each year group.
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